Friday, December 10, 2010

Kirby's Epic Yarn Review

Nintendo loves to keep us waiting. The last console Kirby game was 2003's rather excellent Kirby Air Ride, but since then the little guy's been demoted to the handhelds. But Nintendo, partnered with Good-Feel, set to change that on the Wii; and Kirby's Epic Yarn is unlike any other game in the series.

The story of Kirby's Epic Yarn (KEY for short) starts when Kirby eats a magical Metamato. Apparently, an evil sorcerer named Yin-Yarn didn't like that, and sucks him into Patch-Land, a world made completely out of textiles. (These cutscenes are told by a PBS Kids-esque narrator that is charming at first, but gets kinda obnoxious; thankfully, you can skip the scenes.) Kirby's form changes into Yarn, and soon finds the air goes right through him in this world. Kirby still has a few tricks up his sleeve, though; he can stretch out a whip-like strand of yarn that has multiple uses, like rolling up enemies into yarnball projectiles, swinging across pits Indiana Jones-style, pulling zippers to open up parts of levels, and much more.

The next biggest change is Kirby's morphing powers. At any time, he can turn into a car by double-tapping a direction, he can turn into a parachute by holding 2, and turn into a weight by holding down in air. These instant-morphs are basically the Wheel, Parasol, and Stone abilities of old, abiet at any time. But at certain times in the levels, Kirby can touch a morphing orb and turn into a large variety of objects. One levels morphs Kirby into a tank, and the missiles are guided by moving the Wii Remote. Another level transforms Kirby into a Mole Tank, allowing him to drill deep in the surface. The best transformation, in my opinon, is the Firetruck, where Kirby can aim the hose via tilting the Remote. There's enough morphs to keep your attention for a long time, and often brings me fond memories of the vehicle transformations in Yoshi's Island- a game KAR shares a lot of influence to. Note that this game can be played with two people, which is a blast.

KAR features a lot of replayability: every level has multiple achievements and lots of alternate paths. One aspect about this game that is unlike any other Kirby game, though, is the inability to die; Kirby just looses beads if he's hit, and gets saved if he falls down holes. Getting to the end of the level without loosing any beads is pretty hard in its own right, though, and the later levels have especially tricky locations of treasure chests.

The graphical style of KAR is absolutely amazing. Everything in Patch Land is made out of things you could find at a crafts store. One level substitutes quicksand for yellow waving cloth, the next has a variety of sweets yarnified, and another has beautiful snow made out of cotton. Everything looks beautiful in this game. The music especially is wonderful. From orchestated remixes on classic Kirby tunes to beautiful piano solos, the music fits the mood of each world perfectly.

The stiching in the final framework has a couple of flaws, though. Along with the aformentioned inability to die, the game is far too short. Another big issue I have is that it really does not feel like a Kirby game: there's no inhalation, copying, or any other recognizable Kirby elements. But what the game is, it suceeds.

Gameplay: UnKirby but still very fun. A bit on the easy side, though. 9.0
Graphics: Unlike anything else out there. So much innovation in only 2 dimensions. 9.5
Audio: Enjoyable. 9.25
Overall: Kirby's Epic Yarn, while not all that epic, is a fine addition to the series, and a game all fans of platformers should pick up.
8.5 out of 10

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